DMX Controller

Project Status: Under Construction

I have some random DMX lights but no controller other than my laptop, one option is to make a custom DMX controller from a Raspberry Pi:
£1.42 – MAX485 module + some coding, an XLR cable for data transmission, a project box…

Another option is to get a cheap USB to DMX adapter:
£12 –

…and use some open source DMX software such as Freestyler.

I plan on using OLA on the Pi

OLA on Raspberry Pi



ATX DC Power Supply

Project Status: Complete

This one is fairly straight forward! I do electronics projects as you might have noticed. Most of these projects use either 3.3V, 5V and on very rare occasions 12V. I would be nice to have a bench-top variable DC power supply but I’m skint! I do however have access to as many scrap computers as my heart desires.

Scrap computers have power supplies in them that sometimes work… with a little modification these can be a very nice power supply to give me easy access to the voltages I want without having to faff with batteries. Obviously once I am past the prototyping phase for a project then each project will require its own power supply.

There are loads of tutorials out there on building these so I won’t go into too much detail. Here are some links to get you started.

Usual disclaimer… If you are going to take something apart and plug it into the mains then know what you are doing first! I’m not responsible for your lack of understanding even if I’ve written something down wrong!

Now go and do some reading…

…and here are some images for helpful reminders…

Basic Circuit

ATX Pin Outs

USB Cable Pin Outs

USB Internal Connector Pin Out

I decided on having two boxes for my power supply… an off-the-shelf ATX power supply and then a “converter” box that would allow you to use any ATX power supply.

Note: Having seen how easy it was to make I now wish I’d just crammed it all into one box!

This is the basic front plate I cut from ply, loooks rough at this point but gets better!
2016-02-07 22.48.20

This is my work space for this evening… sleeping child next to my regular lab prevents the use of power tools! Mad Max on the laptop.
2016-02-07 22.48.06

I brutalised the old power supply box with a jigsaw… it didn’t have to be neat, that’s what the front plate is for.
2016-02-07 22.48.42

2016-02-07 22.48.29

Its alive….!!! The empty hole is for an additional fuse for the USB sockets that are going to be in the space on the left.
2016-02-07 23.28.53

Possible improvements…

  • Get my mods and the original power supply into one box.
  • Have each supply switched separately.
  • Finish adding a couple of USB ports.
  • Add an ammeter to measure the output of each supply.
  • Finish adding a couple of USB ports.

Wireless Client Repeater

Project Status: Complete

I’ve moved into a new place and the router is the wrong end of the house. I’ve had all sorts of issues in the past with Powerline adapters so this time I wanted to try out something new.

A client repeater is a wireless router that instead of acting as a router connects to an existing wireless network and repeats the wireless signal and also joins its LAN ports to the wireless network. This way I can have a bank of Ethernet ports physically separated from the rest of the network but still connected.

The ports will be for a server and my work bench with a Pi and a few other projects. It makes life simpler because I don’t have to configure a wireless card for each device.

I also happened to have a spare router lying around – a D-Link DIR-615 (Revision D4), a cheap cheerful freebie from Virgin.

After a bit of research I settled on using the DD-WRT firmware…


If you follow the posts its fairly straightforward. The snag that had me for a while was not matching the channel on the router I was modifying to match the existing router.

This set of commands in a CMD window are handy to examine your current Wireless connection to get the details to enter in the new config:

show all

Possible change of plan to have a Client Bridge as oppose to a repeater bridge and run my own subnet within the house that I can manage (DHCP & DNS) from the server possibly.


Exchange 2013

Project Status: Abandoned

Upgrading email from hosted to On-Premise Exchange 2013

Exchange 2013 prerequisites

Post Installation Tasks

Pitfalls I fallen for so far…

Server 2012R2 virtual machine struggles with Dynamic RAM if you only give it 512MB to start up, seems fine to me at 1024MB.
OK scratch that once its got Exchange on it, it freezes and you can’t Ctrl+Alt+Del even from the Hyper-V Manager Console Action menu. Upped the startup RAM to 4GB and it seems a lot better. I have left the minimum at 1GB in the hope that it is just an initial spike of usage!
You can’t email directly by MX record if you’re using a dynamic IP… that’s what spammers used to do! Use your webhost as an SMTP relay / smart host.

Set-SendConnector -Identity "AuthSMTP Connector" -Port 465

Moved to a new place and the server was left on pretty much just for the email! Have migrate everything to an email only Office 365 account (~£2.50 / month).
Server now runs backup, domain, file storage, remote access… but is now switched off for the majority of the time!